Monday, June 9, 2014

James' 1953 Triumph bobber

We built this Triumph pre-unit for James P. and he has taken it back home to Texas. Enjoy the ride bro and we hope to catch up with you in the future.

James bought in a tired donor and not much could be saved. We managed to get the engine started with some new carbs and a tune. Bar some oil leaks it seamed OK. As for the rest of the bike, it was a miss-matched bundle of butchered parts slapped together to say the least.
It was make or break decision time - we either do it properly or don't do it at all. James said hell yeah and it was game on.

We commissioned a custom a pre 54 rigid Triumph front loop with a later type steering headstock from TFMW but these aren't easy to make. It took some time and a couple of attempts to get it right and with an inter-continental combined effort from both us and the boys at TFMW the job was done. The rear section is also a TFMW standard drop and stretch.

We pulled apart the gearbox, reconditioned it and replaced worn parts and bearings etc. The engine is a 1953 bottom end with a 1971 650cc top end. We gave it a clean and fixed some minor oil leaks. Getting the engine and gearbox mounted to the frame and alignment also took some effort. It's not an easy job at the best of times with a stock factory frame let alone a hand built one like this. Minor adjustments to make sure everything lines up so both engine and gearbox are perfect is essential at this point. If you don't nail it here then the rest of the parts just won't work properly.

James being the resourceful type, managed to snap up a complete genuine NOS 1970 Triumph front end. We stripped it down for inspection and found everything to be in good order with only the fork gaitors needing replacement. He also found a twin leading Daytona front wheel and a bolt up type rear. We stripped the hubs down, replaced the bearings, replaced worn components and did the brakes. We now have a roller ready.

We are fitting a Triumph US slimline gas tank from Arion Pacific Industries to the frame. As there are no mounting lugs, brackets or tabs we fabricated and welding our own.

Next up a Bates style diamond seat. We designed and fabricated our own stainless steel bracket and frame lug so that the seat was positioned over the rear gas tank mount. We used 4 1/2" springs and welded mounts to the frame with threaded studs.

Oil tank is an original Triumph and we also welded a new tab on top to mount to the frame. We used the original front mounting tab and lower front bolt hole on the oil tank. New tabs to the frame were welded and the tank mounted.

Rear guard is 5" ribbed custom that we gave a slight radius to with fabricated upper and lower mounting tabs. We pretty much hand beat the rear guard stay to the shape you see then welded some tabs to mount it.

For the rear brake we modified a Triumph unit construction pedal, fabricated a mount with a pivot and fabricated a stainless steel rod that connects the pedal to the brake plate lever. The brake torque stay is flat bar, we made a tab and welded it to the rear lower frame.

The battery box was a bit tricky as there is somewhat of a gap behind the oil tank. We did not want an unbalanced look when the bike is viewed from behind so we figured the battery box should compliment the oil tank in relation to its position. We fabricated a box to suit with three mounting points. We welded tabs to the box and one stud beneath it. The main support is on the inner primary cover and it is steadied to the top cross bar on the hardtail.

The header pipes are 1 3/4" Triumph with slight mods and baffles. We tabbed them at the lower front and rear. We then positioned a weld on side stand lug with a used stock Triumph side stand that we modified. The engine head steadies are flat bar that we twisted to suit then positioned a tab to the frame.

We fabricated a bracket and license plate holder to fit a traditional Miller 'stop' type tail light to the right side of the rear frame.

With the major fabrication and parts fitment complete, we are now ready to strip down the bike for painting. Here's a couple of quick snaps to get a feel of what the bike looks like at this point.

Frame and assorted parts painted two pack black, gas tank and rear fender metal flake silver with black scallops and red pin stripes. Paint work was well executed by Steve Broholm's brother (i can't remember his name but it will come to me)... that's the one, Michael Broholm!

Getting everything back together from here is a reversal of the strip down only with extra care, alignment and attention to detail. James wired the bike himself with some help and guidance from our mechanic Niel using cloth wiring and good quality connectors.

Genuine Smiths speedo with custom bracket mounted to the top tree. A genuine 7" Lucas head lamp with switch and ammeter was fitted with small spacers to the brackets.
Handlebars are Arion Pacific Industries Classic Bend. The levers and throttle with grips are also from the Arion classic British range.

 Gas tank badges come chromed and the background was blacked out to match the colour scheme.

 Engine, gearbox, oil tank all mounted and plumbed. An oil pressure gauge with custom bracket is mounted at the front of the engine. Amal 930 carbs with air pods. The fuel lines are  fitted and cross over in between the carbs.
New foot rest, kick start and gear change rubbers. Both levers are also new.

Battery box painted black with battery  in position.

Side stand shown in both positions.

Tail light, bracket, license plate bracket, fender and stay. Also rear brake pedal arrangement.

We turned up some alloy spring lug spacers to allow the springs to sit uniform.

The bike now complete we double check and fine tune everything before we go for a test ride. We do some minor adjustments and a complete shakedown before we hand it over to James. Lot's of punch from the 650cc engine and the bike stops and handles very well. We are happy with the final result and James has a smile from ear to ear!